This content mentions loneliness or isolation, which some people may find triggering.
- What is loneliness?
- Who can experience loneliness?
- How to cope with loneliness
- How to support someone else who is feeling lonely
What is loneliness?
We all experience feelings of loneliness or isolation from time to time, but when loneliness is severe or lasts a long time, this can negatively affect our mental health.
Being lonely for a long time can lead to a negative spiral: loneliness makes it harder to connect, which leads to people being afraid of social situations, meaning it is harder to find joy in life and escape negative thoughts.
In our Loneliness UK report 2022 we found that loneliness is different for everybody, so there is no one way that we all experience loneliness. Some people can be alone and not feel lonely, while others can be surrounded by people and feel lonely.
Who can experience loneliness?
We found that anyone can experience loneliness, but there are some risk factors that can increase the chances of severe loneliness. These factors include:
- Being widowed
- Being single
- Being unemployed
- Living alone
- Having a long-term health condition or disability
- Living in rented accommodation
- Being between 16 and 24 years old
- Being a carer
- Being from an ethnic minority community
- Being LGBTQIA+
How to cope with loneliness
Dealing with loneliness can be difficult, but there are things you can do to cope and prevent some of the negative feelings or mental health problems that come with experiencing loneliness.
We have created help and advice on how to cope with loneliness and improve your mental health. Here are a few of those ideas:
- Try to do some enjoyable things that will keep you busy, like a hobby, doing some organisation or another small activity.
- Try to do things that stimulate your mind, such as listening to podcasts or starting a new course
- Think about doing physical activity – exercise can be overwhelming at times, but even something small and simple like a walk in a park can help
- Try to engage with the people you meet in your daily life, such as a delivery person or someone on the street
- Try to use social media in a positive way and find digital communities that share your passions